WASHINGTON—Already there have been nine named storms since the start of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) last week revised its forecast upward, saying it expects a record 19 to 25 storms, the Washington Post reports.
In more than two decades of issuing hurricane forecasts, this is the first time that NOAA has predicted as many as 25 named storms would form in a single season, the Post reports. The hurricane season began June 1 and lasts until November 30. NOAA said it expects seven to 11 storms to become hurricanes (74 mph or greater winds), including three to six that could become major hurricanes, with winds of 111 mph or more.
In an average hurricane season, there are 12 named storms, including six hurricanes, of which three become major hurricanes.
“Weather and climate models are all indicating an even higher likelihood of an extremely active season,” NOAA’s chief hurricane seasonal forecaster Gerry Bell said. Sea surface temperatures are above average in the tropical Atlantic Ocean, as well as in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Additionally, a La Niña event is developing in the tropical Pacific Ocean.
For c-store owners, the coronavirus pandemic makes preparing for a hurricane even more complicated this year. “Especially in this time of COVID-19, retailers are pressed for time, but not preparing for a hurricane or other natural disaster will put them at a distinct disadvantage and will hamper their ability to re-open quickly,” Craig Fugate, former administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), told NACS Magazine. “This year, all of our planning is going to have to add COVID-19 preparations, too.”
For more on how to prepare for hurricanes and other natural disasters, see the NACS Convenience Store Emergency Planning and Job Aid resources. Watch the six preparedness videos, or download the guides. There’s a free mobile app, too, with all of the job aids and videos, so employees can easily access them on their phones in an emergency. Go to www.saberspace.org/nacs-app.html and complete the brief enrollment, then download the app on an Apple or Android mobile device.